Putting the candidate at the centre with an online RPL portal
Dr Karen Deller
Objective: to present the benefits of an online portal and its role in enabling both RPL itself as well as progression post-RPL.
Rationale: RPL is often a tool for the empowerment of disadvantaged workers. But they are frequently unable to access RPL in a country like South Africa (due to various factors such as proximity to an RPL provider, cost of RPL and language).
The conundrum of access has been solved in the banking sector through the launch of an online RPL portal. After RPL, the portal feeds into various post RPL pathways (including learning, career support and guidance and work opportunities).
The benefits of the online RPL portal are many, and include:
- Personalisation of the RPL and post RPL journey;
- A more empowering self-service RPL model;
- More objective RPL – increasing trust in the outcome of the RPL;
- One-on-one support during and post RPL;
- Massification of RPL delivery in a sector where many thousands stood to become unemployable without the required qualification;
- Formal credit transfer for part qualifications that have been formally credentialled;
- Empowerment of the candidate to take charge of their own RPL and post-RPL process;
- Objective tracking to facilitate decision-making.
We will explore the feasibility of an online/digital solution to post-RPL pathways given that many may be excluded from this due to lack of WIFI access or digital literacy.
About Dr Karen DellerCountry
Chartall Business College
Dr Karen Deller is one part entrepreneur, two parts passionate-developer-of-working-adults, one part adventurer & scuba diver, one part mother & wife & daughter. Which is too many parts – but what does one leave out?
She has been involved in adult education and training for over 30 years and the past 20 have been spent theorising about, writing about and actually doing recognition of prior learning (RPL as VPL is known in South Africa). Her focus is on RPL in the workplace for formal credentialing, and this was the basis of the research that saw her awarded a DLitt by the University of Johannesburg in 2007.
Her initiatives with Chartall Business College have assisted over 8500 people in South Africa and Botswana to achieve a full or partial qualification through RPL. It hasn’t been easy. The first few projects taught Karen a lot about how not to do RPL, but once RPL practitioners were capacitated and processes were crafted, the RPL mission become smoother and many more people benefitted. (South Africa has skilled people, we just don’t have qualified people and RPL has the potential to play a critical part in correcting this imbalance.)
Recent projects have seen the development of an online RPL model, which incorporates Credit Accumulation & Transfer (CAT). This digital RPL enabler puts the candidate in the centre and empowers them to take charge of their own RPL process, while developing critical digital literacies. Digital also enables new pathways, on-demand advise, lifelong learning, candidate/alumni tracking, data analytics and verification.
Karen subscribes to the sage advice of Dr Seuss when advising RPL candidates:
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”